XS650: Riding   Leave a comment

I have a car. It’s a van actually. A little one. Just big enough that when I separate the forks, swingarm, tank, seat, bars, a complete bike fits if I fold down the back seat.

I have often had cars before. As well. Mostly Studebakers and old Mopars. Did you know Studebaker celebrated 100 years of building vehicles during the ‘50s? My first was a Model T pickup flathead hauled off the rubbish pile on my uncles farm. His old tractor. Literally. Not mine anymore but still running I believe.

Fun. Way more expensive than bikes. But, truly I only really feel comfortable on a bike or in a truck.

My first driving experiences were animals. Then a Massey Ferguson tractor. Pre-bike.

Then came bikes. Hola. Out-horsing horses. Don’t get me wrong. Bareback racing over rough ground has its’ merits. As does wild water kayaking. Or surfing. Climbing. Downhill Freestyle. Or scores of other thrills. But. Those motorcycles. They just grab your soul and compress it. How does it go? Suck. Press. Bang. Blow ? There’s nothing quite like it. A day in the saddle. Only bikers know why dogs hang their heads out car windows. Wild. Care-free. No risk no fun.

Right from the beginning you fall off. Often. But you learn to respect and push the limits. Yours’. Your machines’.

More important. You learn to read. The conditions. The surface. Peripheral vision. The road ahead. And further. Much

You learn to feel. The bike. Yourself. The wind. Moisture content. Vibrations.

And you live. Some didn’t.

Made me a better cager.

I’ve always said people should not be allowed an auto drivers license until they’ve proven minimum 1 year in the saddle. Would save a lot of lives. And property damage.

Today I’m a family man. Came late in life. A welcome shock.

Priorities change. Hence the little Peugeot.

Things kind of got a bit mixed up.

I was talking to an insurance bloke a while ago. About motorbikes. Of course. They keep statistics. You can’t load the game if you don’t. And they’re not there to provide a social service. They love money. And make lots. Events like you see today in Australia don’t really hurt them. They share the risk with other insurance companies. The spread is global. And if it gets all a little too much for them they go to the government and they pay. Well they don’t really. You do. The tax payer. Always. Usually more than once.

Anyway we were talking about how I got into riding. His statistics show that today, Baby-boomers like myself are dying. Needlessly. On the road. In unusually large numbers.

Seems the story goes something like this. You learn your trade. No money. Ride a bike. Small. Cheap. The little brain takes over. MMM. Marriage, Mortgage, Motherhood. Not even enough cash for a bike. Kids grow up. Leave home. If you’re lucky. You have more time and money. You and the misses start getting on each others nerves as you spend more time together. Little brain comes to the fore. He buys that bike he’s always lusted after. Big. Powerful. Heavy. Fast. After all, he rode before. You never forget some things. Bang.

No skills.

I wonder, as peak-oil becomes more of a reality and many are forced to make major lifestyle changes, if motorcycling will become the reality it was for my grandparents. I see already many young people reverting to scooters. Many of the questions fielded in forums are from 20-30 year olds mostly new to motorcycling, diving into projects with no real practical understanding of where they’re going.

This also will show up in Insurance Co statistics. Soon. If not already.

I’m kind of glad I got things arse about face.

Do yourselves a favour. Finish your project. That’s fun. Then take that machine to a riding school and spend a weekend getting to know how she rides. In controlled situations. No surprises. You will learn things you were never aware of. And have fun doing it.

Only dead fish go with the flow.


Posted January 19, 2011 by xscafe in Frame - Handling, General

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